Photo Brings Back Band Memories



When I first looked at this photo of the Payson School Band of the late 1950s, I thought of Miss Julia Randall. Although Irving Whitehouse was the band leader (as pictured), most of the kids in this photo got their start in music from Miss Randall. How do I know? Miss Randall taught first grade to both Jinx and I. And she taught first grade to Jinx's parents, Gene Pyle and Dorothy Lovelady. We learned reading, writing, and arithmetic, but we also learned about music, patriotism, and God.

Music was part of everyday in Miss Randall classes. We started the day by pledging our allegiance to the flag and singing "My Country 'tis of Thee" or "God Bless America," while she played the piano. All of us who had Miss Randall for a teacher learned a lot and we think of her often. She has had a lasting impact on our lives.


Payson's School Band, circa 1956-1957, included many youngsters who still make their homes in Payson. The band included, back row, from left, Ray Fuller, Tommy McPhearson, Glen Cochran, Doc Dimbat, Bruce Ward, teacher and band leader Irving Whitehouse, Monroe Bishop, Arnold Wilkens "Pickles" Gurd, Bobby Hernbrode; middle, from left, Gary Caldwell, Glen Warden, Charlie "Bem" Walker, Ron Gibson, Don Gibson, Gary Phillips, Errol Owens; front, from left, Sara Goodnow, Donna Taylor, Mary Deming, Alta Garrels, Patti Pistch, Odette Emmett, and Patty Taylor.

Miss Randall loved to put on music programs for the parents, so everyday we practiced singing and we practiced playing the basic instruments -- sticks, triangles, tambourines, pot lids that hung from strings, and there was one melody bell and one drum. Every student played an instrument and from this a few students became good musicians.

Miss Randall loved music and she loved teaching it. So the students in the late 1950s photo who had Miss Randall for a teacher -- and I would say that is most of them -- got their start in music in first grade.

Now let's look at each student and see what paths in life they have chosen -- if Jinx and I happen to know.

Ray Fuller, of Pine, is the guy with the big drum. Next is Tommy McPhearson on the saxophone. Both of his parents, Truman and Ramona McPhearson, were postmasters in Payson. Next is Glen or "Glenny" Cochran with a sax. His dad was Glen Cochran, principal of Payson Schools and his older brother, Jack, was a teacher, then principal of Payson Schools. Glenny has passed on.

Doc Dimbat is next, holding a baritone. Doc is the son of Bud and Paquita Dimbat and the grandson of Charlie Dudley. He was raised in Payson and has done Payson proud. He was a Payson Police officer; now he is a highway patrolman. Doc has a very nice family and has done

very well. Jinx recalls that he and Doc rode Charlie Dudley's mules and they were teammates in basketball, baseball, and track all through high school. "We were and are best friends," said Jinx.

Bruce Ward, with a trumpet, is after Doc. Bruce married a Payson girl, Helen Bratton. They currently live in Payson. We wish we knew more about them.

The next guy pictured is Irving Whitehouse. Irving was a very talented fellow. He was a song and dance man with the cane and the hat. This was new for Payson kids. Irving was my sixth-grade teacher and I really liked him. He taught us well, plus he juggled for us each afternoon. He taught math to Jinx and he gave Jinx tips on playing the guitar. Irving played the piano and the trumpet well, and he played the guitar. He led the school band and was well liked by the kids. So as far as music went, Irving picked up where Miss Randall left off. Thank goodness we had teachers like these.

He had a daughter, Barbara, who married Donnie Cline of Pleasant Valley. He later married Kay Loftfield's daughter, Judy, who was a golf coach at Arizona State University for many years. They had two daughters, one of whom is Katy Whitehouse, who wrote for the Payson Roundup and was its editor.

Monroe Bishop is the next guy in line. He was the son of Ed Bishop and Mary Vaughn (now Rogers). Monroe was a good boxer, taught by his dad who was the Arizona State Champion at one time. We can't tell what he is holding in this photo, but apparently, he was a member of the band. Monroe did well for himself. He married and had two children, founded Bishop Realty and other businesses, then he died in a plane crash in 1986.

Arnold Wilkens Gurd, affectionately known as "Pickles" all through school, is to the right of Monroe Bishop. He doesn't appear to be holding a musical instrument -- maybe he forgot to bring his that day. Arnold still lives in the Payson area.

Bobby Hernbrode, holding a tuba, is standing at the end of the back row, on the right. His dad, Bob Hernbrode, was the game warden in the Payson area in the 1950s and 1960s. Bobby must have followed in his footsteps. We recently read that he has been appointed to the Arizona Game and Fish Commission.

Now, second row, left to right: Gary Caldwell played a trumpet. He was the son of Bob Caldwell who owned the Ox Bow Inn.

Glen Warden, holding a trumpet, is next. Glen was the son of Andy and Margie Warden, who lived in Payson for many years.

Andy was Branch President of the LDS Church in Payson and held the meetings in his home.

Charlie "Bem" Walker, with a trumpet, is next. He was the son of "Preach" and Alice Walker who owned a sawmill off of what is now Granite Dells Road. His parents also ran the Baptist Church on Main Street. His mother played the piano well and most of her children played some kind of musical instrument. We know he visited Payson last year because we saw his sister, Priscilla, in the Beeline Café and she told us that all of the Walker kids were meeting in Payson for a reunion.

Ron Gibson, now known as "Rockin' Ron" of KMOG Radio in Payson is next, and appears to be holding a trombone. His twin brother, Don Gibson, is standing beside him and appears to have a trumpet. Ron and Don are the grand-nephews of Miss Julia Randall. She raised them from wee little guys and taught them to appreciate music.

Don Gibson is a great lead guitar player and Ron is a great drummer. Both brothers have played in bands for years. Their great-great-grandfather, Joseph Gibson, settled at Rye in 1878. Then he moved to Gisela, then on to Round Valley. The Gibson twins have roots five generations deep in the Payson area. Both are funny, talented men who donate much to their community. Don is married to Erin Walker, sister of Buzz Walker.

Gary Phillips, son of George and Venla Phillips, is holding a trombone. Gary's family lived across the street from Jinx's grandmother, Belle Lovelady -- the telephone operator for Payson. Jinx and Gary played together as small boys.

Errol Owens has a snare drum. He is the son of Keith and Ella Lee Owens of Owens Lumber Company in Payson.

He is also a direct descendant of Commodore Perry Owens, the famous law man and gunfighter who wiped out the Blevins gang (of Pleasant Valley War fame) in Holbrook. Errol is a building contractor in Payson today.

Now front row, left to right: Sara Goodnow played a clarinet. She is the daughter of Art and Viola Goodnow, and the wife of Lance Stuart, another Payson High School graduate.

Lance, Sara, and family live in the Phoenix area today. Sara has worked for years as a secretary to Linda Kay Flack, another Payson High School graduate.

Next is Donna Taylor in a dress, holding a clarinet. Donna was the daughter of Payson pioneer, Fritz Taylor, and his wife, Cleo. Donna was a good horsewoman. She died a few years ago. She left a son, Wiley Greer, and a daughter.

Next is Mary Annelle Deming, daughter of Jim and Anna Mae Ogilvie Deming of Payson. She played a clarinet, too.

Mary was Payson Rodeo Queen in 1960, and after graduation, worked at ASU until her retirement last year. She married Ron Mullen and has a nice family.

Alta Garrels, also with a clarinet, was educated in Payson. She is the daughter of Sammie and Dorothy Garrels. She married Norman Dudley, a Payson High School basketball star. They have a family and their daughter, Nicole, is a teacher in Payson.

The girl to the right of Alta is Patti Pistch. We had trouble identifying her and don't know anything about her life. If anyone can help with this information, please call us at (928) 474-0380.

The next girl is Odette Emmett, with a trumpet. Odette is the daughter of Bob and May Emmett of Star Valley, and was a Payson Rodeo attendant to Calleen Eaves in 1958. Odette had four sisters. Three were active horsewomen, as was Odette.

Last, but not least, is Patty Taylor Rhoades, the daughter of Richard and Valda Taylor. Patty played a clarinet in the Payson School Band, and is a retired school teacher. Patty and her husband, Jim Rhoades, currently live in Payson.

Her two sisters, Fern Spears and Lois Bissett, also live in Payson.

In closing, this old photo brought back some great memories, probably more to Jinx than me because he is five years older, but I have enjoyed knowing a lot of the people pictured.

Books by Jayne Peace-Pyle and Jinx Pyle: "Looking Through the Smoke," "Mountain Cowboys," "History of Gisela," "Rodeo 101- the History of the Payson Rodeo," "Blue Fox," "Muanami -- Sister of the Moon," and "Calf Fries and Cow Pies." The books can be purchased at Sue Malinski's Art and Antique Corral in Payson and from Lorraine Cline in Tonto Basin.

Rodeo Reunion

Git A Rope! Publishing is hosting the First Annual Payson Rodeo Reunion on Saturday, Aug. 20, at the Tonto Apache Gym from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Everyone is welcome to come out and visit with the rodeo cowboys and cowgirls and get their "Rodeo 101" books signed by them.

Nancy and Lynn Sheppard will be the guests of honor.

There will be live country-western music, door prizes, and a good, old-fashioned barbecue.

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